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am writing

Tag: writing process

#waswritinguntil…

We’ve all seen (and used if you’re a writer) #amwriting.

Feels good, doesn’t it? Feels forward moving and the perfect affirmation even if, at the moment, you’re staring at the screen waiting for said writing to burst forth with the same fervor as that little hashtag implies.

The night was set up so perfect. You had time, you had energy, you were feeling emotional – you did not have coffee, but the wine was near by and the music was… helping? … Ok, you got a little distracted with the music selecting. But no matter.

You began editing an old piece. There’s a new piece that you’re really proud of, but you sent it to a friend and they mentioned removing the semi colons that you’ve been judiciously dumping on your writing like they belong there. All of them. You knew it was a bad idea, but somewhere in the back of your mind you were like, “semi colons are so undervalued”.

  1. Since you have a soft spot for underdogs, you ran with it. Next time though, you’ll have learned your lesson.
  2. Now the piece needs to be edited – again. Which means, for good measure, maybe you’ll let it sit in a folder and ferment for another month.

So you’re editing the old piece, you sip the wine and sip it again. A few words fall out of your head, but something feels off. You’re not emotionally invested in the piece anymore so you put a new spin on it, a darker one. You’re good at being dark, but dark is easy and you told yourself to stop being so easy.

Not sure you’re on board with your own shift in direction, you stop #amwriting to thumb the phone for a little, take a selfie or two because you need to affirm that it’s not just your disembodied ego sitting here stewing, but the whole body, vanity and all.

You head to social media to embellish the truth around any real progress and productivity, or maybe the photo is now considered progress so that’s cool, and with the social aspect you hope it will incite actual #amwriting because now you’ve called yourself out, now you’ve a responsibility to method act your way back to the #amwriting you’re supposed to be doing.

Photo posted, you tap away at a few more words, delete a few more paragraphs because #icebergtheory – the less you say on the surface, the more meaning lies underneath. Or as Ernest put it,

If a writer of prose knows enough of what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of an ice-berg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water. A writer who omits things because he does not know them only makes hollow places in his writing. –Ernest Hemingway

You bow your inner writer soul to the god that is Hemingway because now you’re giddy over how cutting out half of what you wrote makes for a more weighty piece of writing.

So, OK, but I don’t know, is it done? You re-read over and over again. Seems a bit short. You sip that wine over and over again. Does it say enough? Is it even any good? You check the status of your photo. Only two likes so far. You’ve not convinced anyone, even yourself, that you are indeed #amwriting. Should have been more truthful you think, should have posted #waswritinguntil…

You whip out the tarot deck. Close the computer. The night decays into divination and doubts. You tell yourself you’ll revisit the writing in the morning when you’re feeling less cataclysmic.

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Any of this sound familiar?

More often than not I wish I wasn’t a writer in the digital era where social media is paramount to career survival. That said, my output HAS somewhere to output because of the digital era, but that output has suffered since I was gifted a smart phone.

Blog posts seem doable. Short prose, poems, and stories seem doable. Photos – very doable. Still, it’s hard to focus on the horrible tedium that is, editing when it comes to that expansive book I #waswritinguntil…

Point being, there are ways to keep #amwriting even if you don’t feel that what you are doing can be considered such. Even if what you’re doing isn’t the thing you think you should have been doing. Like, do I really need another blog post when I have a book to edit? The answer is yes, yes I do. Because the point is #practice and #persistence and the only really bad thing a writer can do for themselves is to stop writing.

We’re hard on ourselves, us writers and creatives. I know I am. But I’m getting braver about my writer skin – more confident about what I can and cannot consider real work. You know what I’ve been learning?

  • IF YOU SHOWED UP #amwriting.
  • If you ATTEMPT to work on your craft for hours, even if a few or all of those hours were spent torturing yourself over not working efficiently or brilliantly or whatever #amwriting
  • If all you did was delete 5 sentences and reread the same first paragraph 500 times #amwriting
  • If all you managed to do was open your computer and write, “I can’t think of anything to write” – you know what? #amwriting

What I’m learning is that being a writer is a state of mind. If you never publish a damn word but consider yourself a writer, you’re a writer. So #amwriting your little heart out. Maybe #waswritinguntil… just to keep yourself in check, but above all #dontstopwriting even if the words only live in your mind. They’ll come pouring out eventually. They will because they have to because us writers, we didn’t choose the writing life, the writing life chose us.

Music selection is this gem I found – an artist out of Toronto named verzache. The above track is called “hiccup”, this one here is “juvenescence”. Was listening to his whole soundcloud last night and well… I was blown away.

Thanks for coming to my space and sharing this time with me. I’ll be posting the piece that I was working on last night… the old piece “And So We Did” on Scriggler so you can judge for yourself if it was enough of the iceberg or even any good.

As always, be well, love often, and enjoy.

Onward! to NaNoWriMo 2016

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Most writers already know, NaNoWriMo is right around the corner. I’ve had a few conversations about this with a friends already. General consensus: we’re all going to attempt it this year, regardless of that other pressing project in the works.

Last year, I completed From the Other Seat for Nano. It was challenging and rewarding and I’m thankful to have done it. This year, I’m still working on From the Other Seat. While I did send it off to an editor I found over at Reedsy and while I’ve been sharing plenty of sample chapters over at Scriggler, with this book in particular, I think the content was, and possibly still is, too close to me to be editing at this juncture. Even though I’ve been editing for a year (jeeze, that sounds bad), in truth I should have followed the advice of Stephen King and stuck it in a drawer for 6 months to 2 years. I didn’t because I didn’t have another project to focus on (which is healthy practice and prevents oneself from getting exhausted by the first book.)

I’m opting to set aside From the Other Seat to participate in Nano this year and I think this will be precisely what the doctor ordered.

Which brings me to this spread. I asked the tarot where I’m at in my writing process. I did a three card spread because I drew The Eight of Swords first. This is where I’m at in the process, for sure, but that’s certainly no solution, so I drew the two others, The Two of Pentacles and The Page of Swords, as clarifiers- and how clear that message became!

It’s helpful to know that swords represent any process of the mind, thoughts and feelings that we internalize, but they also represent communication- writing in particular. They’re usually somewhat negative cards just because, you know, knives are sharp and dangerous. Cutting words, devious and harmful thoughts, cold maneuvers, logical love- these are things swords can represent. (They have good qualities too, depending on the card; bravery or decisiveness, for instance.)

In this case (and I’m strictly consulting my own intuition here) I see The Eight of Swords as me, surrounded by my pages. I’m bound up and I got that blindfold on because, like I said, at this point those pages are too close to me, I can’t see my way through them, I can’t editing my way out of them blind. They’re making me feel stormy and trapped which isn’t helpful to me or the book. So a choice emerges, The Two of Pentacles. I’ve an opportunity to balance the situation, and I’ve got to. Notice the grey sky has turned blue, and that blue is then mirrored in the the tunic of the The Page of Swords who comes rushing in with an exciting new idea, a bold and decisive direction – a youthful one – but fresh, nonetheless.

So there you have it. I will most definitely stick From the Other Seat in a theoretical drawer and rush forward with a new book for National November Writing Month!

What will I be writing about this year? I want to give myself a little more freedom, magic up my environments. I think it will be a love story, it could turn out to be a tragedy, but it will most likely be realistic with an element of magic to blur the lines a bit. Nothing original in that simple description, no. I can think of handful of writers that regularly do this type of writing, but it is my perspective and my writing style that needs to set me apart. I’m thinking of mermaids, longing, new lands, love and loss. I’m thinking, dry indie films and exotic records. I’m thinking of an interview I recently read in Playboy Magazine between James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhall and this bit that I found highly intriguing (quote below):

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Gyllenhaal: An actress said to me two days ago, “I’ve been getting so scared when it comes time for my close-up. I’m paralyzed with fear.” From my objective position, I was like, “You’re playing someone who is acting like they’re comfortable with the wildest sexual encounters. It is so much more interesting if that person sometimes is paralyzed with fear.” I don’t believe in the fantasy person who is totally comfortable with that kind of stuff. Maybe there are a couple of people like that in the world, but I’m not really interested in them. I’m much more interested in the person who acts like they’re comfortable with all those things and then sometimes is paralyzed with fear.

And I’ll leave you with MaJLo “Another Day” mostly because I love this song like it was my own heart beating, but also because he offers another glimpse into the setting of my upcoming NaNoWriMo adventure. MaJLo is based near Gdansk, Poland. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Be well, love often and enjoy!

The beginning is the end is the beginning

Ace of Pentacles

This is a blog about my process, my writing, my journey. A journey that’s been wrapped up in music since that long ago day I befriended the poetry of words; words that are so musical and magical to me that I can’t do without them.

My words, my music, and the very fiber of my being have always been guided by a fascination with the stars, the planets, and metaphysical whispers.

In an effort to think of what I could offer a daily blog, how I could share my process, what exactly my process is, I thought of divination. For years, I’ve sought wisdom through astrology, consulted the tarot, and have had many a conversation with the ICHING. These are just things I do. Have I gotten skilled enough to share what I’ve learned? Not exactly, though I have given a few tarot readings to close friends and family and they seemed satisfied. Mainly, I do it for me, a restless spirit always searching, always listening, looking and asking for guidance. I tell my very skeptical family that Spirit is math, just like anything else. It can be measured and weighed in the medium in which it’s revealed. Spirit is an intricate equation that we all tap into, add to, subtract from, transmit and absorb.

Astrology might be the only map one needs to make educated decisions, but other forms of divination like Tarot and ICHING speak to a more fine-tuned need for guidance. Questions like – Where should I go with the next chapter? What is my major conflict? How should the story end? For many of these questions, divination is my guide. It’s something I do to feel grounded; to keep on track. Everyone has their method. I take bike rides, too. Exercise is a form of divination. Exercise could be seen as a practice in becoming one with the divine; to perfect the body, to become powerful,  thereby becoming god-like. But more than the physicality of it, exercise conjures hidden thoughts and ideas. Any form of exercise loosens something in the mind; opens channels more equipt to translate the ethereal.

My writing process is weighted in deep introspection and careful wordplay imbued with the immensity of my feeling. What I put out into the world means a great deal to me and “daily” anything seems… an after thought, frivolous, exhausting. It is exhausting. In the past, I’ve tried this before and exhausted myself with myself. Truth be told, I still have a book to write. Why am I wasting my time and energy on a blog? Modern day publishing is the real answer; the need to have an online presence. But there is something about pushing oneself to share, daily. There is value. Typing this first post does, in a small way, makes the journey more real, less inside my head. I have shared it, therefore, it is fact.

How fitting then, for me to draw this first card for this first post, the Ace of Pentacles.

First a word about Aces in a reading: “The Ace is the dominant type of card and pulsates its energy over the whole reading. While most cards tell your story of when their impact was felt, is being felt or will be felt in the future, any Ace describes the whole story and is present in each chapter.” keen.com

While the Ace of Pentacles has a variety of dynamics, pertaining to this post one the resonates with me the most is that it is a card of results. Pentacles represent the earth, money matters, things that ground you, can stagnate or stabilize. It is a powerful card that asks to mediate on your roots, “firmly plant yourself back on your path in order to see your result realized as you desire… what you are ultimately attaining.” auntyflo.com

It is a card that begs you to focus on the foundation, keep a schedule, generate results. This can carry over to health, business, love. In this case, I think of this blog, this book I’m writing. There is a definite need for a schedule, a focused effort to stay on task. If I can do that, I will finish. The Ace of Pentacles assures that- that there is the energy there to finish. The Ace of Pentacles is a new beginning or at least a refreshed approach. It reminds me that this is a productive period, saving for the future, good fortune. It represents stamina, dedication, and hard work. While all these things come hard for me, the Ace of Pentacles is here to tell me it’s not impossible, it just takes a bit of effort.

With that, here is a bit of music I’ve been listening to while writing. Chroma Bay, a trio from London. What I like about them is that this is their first released track and fits in great with the energy of the Ace of Pentacles. A great reminder that whatever we dream, it certainly may seem impossible, but with a little love, a little hope, a lot of effort and a little magic, amazing things can come of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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